Colombians accused of smuggling cocaine to Mackay

A JUDGE has adjourned the sentencing of three Colombian nationals who imported drugs from South America to Mackay, after a seven-day hearing.   

Colombian nationals Juan Pablo Ocampo Alvarez, Alexis Giovany Gomez Ruiz and German Rendon Alvarez pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court to importing drugs into Australia.   

Over seven days, spread out over a period of months, the court heard the men admitted to smuggling drugs into Australia - but disputed the form it was in.   

They claim they helped import the raw materials to make cocaine into Australia, rather than the drug itself.   

Mr Rendon Alvarez has previously told the court that in Colombia the raw materials to make cocaine were placed in oil containers before being loaded into larger oil drums in Panama and shipped across the Pacific Ocean.

In May, 2011, police found the drugs in the oil containers in Mackay.   

On Wednesday, defence barrister Damian Walsh said police had failed to investigate key parts of the allegations, including what chemical format the drugs were in.  

"This entire investigation has been conducted in a very incompetent way," he said.   

Mr Walsh pointed to a recording which said "250 or 300 units" would be stored in a barrel.

He said the uncertainty over the quantity showed the drugs still needed to be made.  

"That clearly denotes it was a raw material because no one can be specific about what quantity it was," he said.

Alleged drug kingpin Markis Scott Turner, a former Mackay mining boss, disappeared after his family offered $550,000 in surety for him to be granted bail.   

His family claims he has died, but police are investigating whether he fled the country.   - ARM NEWSDESK  

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